We need to stop Republican gerrymandering and start focusing on downballot races.
Aside from the White House, Republicans have been winning pretty much everything. Republicans have a majority in the United States Senate. Republicans have a majority in the United States House of Representatives. Republicans have a majority among state governors. Republicans have a majority among state legislatures. Altogether, Republicans have total control (governor and legislature) of almost half of state governments, while Democrats only control seven states.
And the state government is often far more consequential to our daily lives. Education, transportation, and land use are all primarily determined by state governments. Not to mention, control of state government has allowed Republicans to gerrymander their way into a perpetual majority in the US House of Representatives, and permanent majorities in many state legislatures.
But all is not lost. Measuring by presidential election years, when Democratic voters actually turn out, most states are Democratic. We need to turn these voters out for every election, every year.
DAPAC is on the case. We are the only organization seriously dedicated to electing progressive Democrats – pro-choice, pro-environmental, pro-LGBT, pro-worker Democrats – to every office at every level of government. We are working every day to fight voter apathy, and win every office we can, from US Senator to dogcatcher.
You can find our latest newsletter here, with updates on our progress, and articles on electoral prospects and a challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
We need your help to continue. If you can donate online of whatever you can afford, we will be one step closer to turning out every Democrat in every election. One step closer to progressive victory. Please send your donation today. Thank you.
What is it that Republicans want you to think? What is it that Republicans don’t want you to know?
Republicans want you to think that Democrats are on the rise. True enough.
The White House will probably stay in Democratic hands. Immigration and migration between states have altered the electoral college map. Most of us remember how the electoral college handed George W. Bush the 2000 election. That was despite the fact that Vice President Al Gore narrowly, but decisively, won the popular vote. Linear regression study of the last few election results shows us that the Democratic presidential nominee could lose to a Republican by up to 0.6% of the popular vote and still win the electoral college.
Because more states have recently trended Democratic than Republican, it is no longer necessary for Democrats to win the formerly pivotal swing states, Florida and Ohio.
So What Don’t Republicans Want You To Know?
Republicans don’t want you to know that Democratic Congressional prospects can be diminished by failure to fight for voter turnout in mid-term federal and state elections. We could lose the Senate, and we could fail to gain back the House, since state government determines redistricting. Gerrymandered redistricting may enable Republicans majorities in state government to continue to engineer the disfranchisement that leaves the House of Representatives in Republican hands.
But now you know. And DAPAC is working relentlessly to build Democratic enthusiasm so we can stop Republican gerrymandering and elect a Congress that will work with the next Democratic president. You can turn the tables on Republicans by making a donation today.
Kamala Harris for US Senate
Senator Barbara Boxer of California recently announced her retirement. California Attorney General Kamala Harris has announced that she is running to replace Senator Boxer. As Attorney General, she has fought for homeowners being foreclosed on by introducing the California Homeowner's Bill of Rights. As well, she has been a leader advocating for victims of hate crimes, identify theft, and predatory lending. If elected, she would be the first Indian-American in the Senate. We enthusiastically endorse her.
In an episode of the television series Seinfeld, titled The Bubble Boy, the character George Costanza visits a boy named Donald. Donald has an immune deficiency and must live behind a plastic divider, or bubble, but that is not important for our story here.
George and Donald decide to play a game of Trivial Pursuit. At one point, Donald must answer the question, “Who invaded Spain in the 8th century?” Donald answers “the Moors”, which would seem to be a reasonable answer for anyone with a passing familiarity with European history. However, the answer on the card is a misprint – it says “the Moops”. George refuses to accept “the Moors” as the correct answer. As you might expect from a Seinfeld episode, Donald resorts to physical violence.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”, can be understood as a three-legged stool. One leg is the requirement that health insurers insure anyone, regardless of how sick they already are. Another leg is the mandate that everyone get health insurance, or pay a penalty. The last leg is the subsidy that middle-income people receive, so that they can get insurance even if they couldn't otherwise afford it.
If any one of the legs is removed, the whole system collapses. If insurers don't have to insure anyone, they will cherry-pick the healthiest people, and the sickest people will end up with no insurance at all, like our previous system. If nobody is required to get insurance, only the sickest people will find it worthwhile, insurers will raise their rates to compensate for higher costs, and moderately healthy people will not be able to afford it. If middle-income people receive no subsidies, they will pay the smaller penalty instead, unless they get sick, and then we are back to only the sickest people buying insurance.
The Affordable Care Act sets up a system where each state can set up an exchange, where insurers can sell and where individuals can buy insurance. The federal government has set up an exchange for the states (34 of them) that did not set up their own exchange. A state that sets up its own exchange has discretion over standards for insurance plans and can negotiate prices with insurers.
In a case currently in front of the Supreme Court, King versus Burwell, the court must answer the question, “Residents of which states can receive subsidies to buy health insurance?” As it turns out, there was something of a misprint when the Affordable Care Act was drafted. The Act says, “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State,” where, to be perfectly clear, it could have said, “enrolled in through an Exchange established by a State or the United States Department of Health and Human Services”. The plaintiffs in this case claim that the Act does not intend for residents of states using the federal exchange to receive any subsidies.
But that claim is obviously ridiculous. The state exchanges, which were not in the original bill, were allowed so that states could tailor their health insurance markets to their own requirements. Legislative history and debate at the time reveals that the idea that the federal exchange would not receive subsidies was not even considered.
George Costanza, out of spite for Donald, against all reason, insists that it was the Moops that invaded Spain. The challengers to the Affordable Care Act in King versus Burwell, out of spite for people who can't afford insurance without subsidies – or perhaps out spite for Democrats – against all reason, insist that only people in states with their own exchanges can get the subsidies.
In Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district, incumbent Republican Mike Fitzpatrick is retiring. This is a competitive district in suburban Philadelphia where President Obama lost by just under 2 points. In the last election, we endorsed businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton for this seat, but she narrowly lost in the primary – by only 818 votes. She has just announced that she is running again, and we are wholeheartedly supporting her.
Also in Pennsylvania, former Representative Joe Sestak formally announced his campaign for the Senate seat currently held by Pat Toomey. He made his announcement in front of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was agreed to in Philadelphia. In 2010, he lost against Toomey by a mere 2 points. With greater Democratic turnout in a presidential year, most experts consider this rematch to be one of the top Senate races of 2016. He has embarked on a walk across the state of Pennsylvania – over 800 miles – to emphasize his call for accountable leadership.
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